The Queensland Regional Advisory Committee.
Queensland growers report shorter season
25 October 2018
Queensland growers have reported smaller crops and a shorter season this year.
However, quality was not affected and prices were better than last season, underpinned by export demand.
Growers met at a post-season forum in Gayndah on October 11, where Gayndah grower Cris Bryant, Blue Cow Citrus, was appointed Chairman of the Queensland Regional Advisory Committee.
Cris replaces outgoing Chair Michael McMahon, Abbotsleigh Citrus, Gin Gin, after six years in the role. Ainsley Emmerton, Quebec Citrus, Mundubbera, was named Deputy Chair.
Growers were advised that overseas customers, particularly China, are placing a greater emphasis on eating quality of fruit.
Growers can’t rely on appropriate brix and acid anymore, with one exporter saying every buyer ate the fruit to determine eating quality.
“They were talking about softness and how chewy it is. People are getting wealthy and flavor is becoming important,” he said.
More importers are also wanting to know the variety of fruit. It’s not enough to label it as a Murcott, for example, as importers want to know whether it’s a Honey Murcott, low seed, or otherwise.
Jon Watson, Mildura Fruit Company, told the forum that Australian growers had no choice but to maintain their high standards.
“Poor quality fruit won’t be accepted anymore. The world is growing better fruit and more of it. We need to maintain the brand of Australian citrus.”
Mr Watson said market expansion was necessary to avoid critical volumes of fruit from competing nations.
Japan is an important market for southern navels and MFC is gradually building a market for Queensland Murcotts.
Although a relatively new market, he said Vietnam was a premium market that will pay for the right grade and size (medium to large).